The stage seemingly made no sound as he walked across the wooden floor to his spotlight. Silence from the audience as they gazed at him. As he took his seat, all it took was the press of a key.
The room burst into sound. Music filled the air. The notes sang, “Get ready, because here I come.”
Michael Noble, a New York based pianist, played for a small audience at Marshall University Friday night.
Noble played in the University’s School of Music at Smith Hall in the Smith Recital Hall. The recital was presented by the College of Arts and Media through the university’s School of Music. The recital was also livestreamed by the school.
Noble, who dressed in all black attire that matched the piano he played on, performed for a crowd of about 25. The crowd was a mix of students and community members who were able to attend for free, as the event was open to all.
“For a beginning of the semester concert—especially with the pandemic going on—this is what I was expecting personally,” said Michael Swagger, a School of Music grad student who worked the livestream of the performance. “This was a solo recital. It wasn’t a student ensemble or anything like that, so the word wasn’t as spread around possibly.”
Swagger said that the low attendance was due to the ongoing pandemic and that it isn’t only happening here. “I know with the pandemic and everything concert attendance has been super low with audiences. That’s not just a here thing.”
Noble took stage at 7:30 and gave no hesitation in playing and giving the crowd something to hear. Noble played one of his favorite pieces, “The People United Will Never Be Defeated,” consisting of many variations of the Chilean protest song “El Pueblo Unido.”
“I had no idea what it took to be a pianist when I was young,” said Noble about his upbringing. “It wasn’t until high school I started to realize I need to practice. 5 hours a day, minimum.”
Noble said that the performance was his second live concert since the beginning of the pandemic 2 years ago. “I’ve done some streaming things just myself, but nothing live until October.”
Although the small crowd meant less eyes on him, Noble said that he has gotten used to his listeners eyes watching him play. “Probably better that I can’t look at them. Facing the other way is kind of nice,” said Noble. “You just get used to it.”